I spend many hours each week helping other people buy a home. I’m rather good at it if I do say so myself. I am even more confident in that fact after a recent experience. Let me tell you what happened.
My husband and I came across a property just outside of Asheville that we wanted to check out. It was a large farm with a beautiful red barn and not 1 but 2 full-sized homes, and some acreage. I called the real estate broker listed on the sign. I disclosed that I was a licensed broker and that I could let myself in. She explained that she would need to meet us and show us around the homes and property.
I haven’t been a buyer looking at property via a real estate agent for, well, a long time. It was very enlightening.
First, the home was built in the late 1800s. As the buyer I found myself looking at the conditions of the floors and ceilings. I scanned rooms to see where the outlets were placed. In other words, the bones and functions of the house were my top priority.
The sellers seemed to be a very happy and busy big family. At least I assume they were busy since they had not prepared their home for showings. I always tell my clients when you are getting your house ready to sell, imagine it is already sold. If your house belonged to someone else you wouldn’t keep highly personal photographs, family knickknacks and laundry thrown about. The happy life clutter in this house was in each structure and especially the barn. In fact, I couldn’t decide if the barn was for sheep or sporting goods supplies.
Walking in a home that felt soooo much like someone’s personal space made me feel like we were intruding and, frankly, like we were doing something wrong. That is definitely not a good feeling for potential buyers.
The agent was very sweet and knowledgable about the area. However, when it came to the property she didn’t seem to know much. We weren’t asking questions that were stumpers. For instance, we asked if the house was all or partial knob & tube wiring. That method of wiring a home was common practice up until the 1940’s. The answer was a confident “I don’t know”. She had the same answer for other questions too. Soon I was thinking ‘Let’s go.”
We walked around beautiful sun-kissed meadows and ponds. However, we had to walk around several projects this busy family had started but never finished. There was a pizza oven in the beginning phase that I knew would take me a lot of effort to dismantle or lots of money to complete. However, when the showing agent mentioned it she said wouldn’t take much to finish this up. Add that project to the quickly multiplying list of to-do’s and unknowns and this was looking more and more like a bad idea.
I am writing this not to criticize this seller or agent. I bring it up because I have been guilty in the past of not really doing all of my homework on a piece of property.
- The experience was a good reminder that as a real estate broker helping your seller prepare a home for sale requires being a warm-hearted but tough coach.
- I have to tell my sellers how to properly prepare the property.
- I have to tell the hard truths. It’s what the buyer and the seller deserve.
- I have to do my due diligence so that I am able to answer expected questions.
- I have to be a strong representative of the seller.
I should be the buyer more often….